Category Archives: Live

Awake Again

“Awake Again” is an unfinished project I started working on in in early 2009 and only recently revisited. Now, assembled here together for the first time since it was recorded, the music in this playlist brings the project to a conclusion of sorts.

This music here was recorded in Holualoa, Hawai’i, on 11 different dates ranging from 2/14/09 through 6/20/09.  Rather than a finished product this is the complete ‘first draft,’ comprised of the best recordings from that time in the order I had envisioned for the completed project.  Hope you enjoy.

Track List:
1 – Intro 6/13/09
2 – Dust Yourself Off 2/24/09
3 – Ohio River Rag 3/1/09
4 – Transition I 3/1/09
5 – Straight Ahead Blues 2/26/09
6 – Hand Dancing 6/20/09
7 – Home Abroad 3/18/09
8 – Make 3/19/09
9 – Moment in the Sun 4/20/09
10 – Crossing the Field 4/20/09
11 – Morning and Night 6/20/09
12 – Brownsboro Road 4/20/09
13 – Bull By the Horns 2/14/09
14 – Kona Snow 6/20/09
15 – Transition One 3/16/09
16 – Momentum 6/8/09
17 – Outro 6/20/09

LIVE 107 • Kuakini Slack Key

Here is a demo of a song called Kuakini Slack Key, named after Kuakini Highway (which was in turn named after former governor of Hawai’i island and builder of Hulihe’e Palace, John Adams Kuakini).  I wrote this in a friends’ condo which was off Kuakini, not far from Palani Road and the Kailua pier.  As a kid, I also lived for several years in a home farther south that was just off Kuakini. 

This is one of the few recordings done with a Larrivee parlor guitar I used to own – a rosewood / spruce P-09, which I have since sold.  There’s also a fun little manual fade at the end.  Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Larrivée P-09 Parlor guitar (Rosewood / Sitka Spruce) and a matched stereo pair of Shure KSM 141 microphones in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i, 8/27/07.   

LIVE 110 • Punahoa Special

Today’s song is the joyful “Punahoa Special,” a signature showpiece of legendary slack key master Fred Punahoa. This is a song I was fortunate enough to learn directly from Led Ka’apana, one that Led had in turn learned directly from Fred himself. Though Fred Punahoa never made a full album under his own name, he did make a notable appearance on the Waimea Music Festival album in addition to fostering amazing talents of the next generation such as Led and Sonny Lim. “Punahoa Special” is an often covered song in the slack key canon, and might also be the most popular song in Mauna Loa slack key tuning. Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 414ce-NR (Rosewood/Spruce grand auditorium nylon string) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

LIVE 105 • Hilo Rag (alt take)

Here is an alternate take of Dennis Kamakahi’s song, “Hilo Rag.”  This is a super fun song to play and one of my favorites from Dennis Kamakahi’s oeuvre.  Better known for lyrical songs like Koke’e, Hilo Rag makes me wish I heard more of Dennis’s instrumental work.  Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 414ce-NR (Rosewood/Spruce grand auditorium nylon string) and an Ear Trumpet Labs “Edwina” microphone.  

LIVE 109 • Banyan (Alternate Take)

Here is an alternate take of my song “Banyan” (a/k/a “Banyans,” or “Banyan Tree Slack Key”), a slack key style song I wrote years ago on nylon string guitar.  I used to play my gut string ‘beach’ guitar (an old Ibanez) around beaches and surf spots in Kona like Magic Sands, Banyans, and Old Airport.  So I guess this song is partially named after the surf spot, but also after some banyan trees near Magic Sands – some of which have since been cut down – or even majestic banyan trees in general.  Hope you enjoy.

Recorded with a Taylor 414ce-NR (Rosewood/Spruce grand auditorium nylon string) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

LIVE 102 • Momentum (K22ce)

Momentum is an original I’ve been playing for a while.  Over the years, I have added different bridges and changed the intro at times, but at its core the song remains the same. This version has a new bridge and was recorded on my Taylor K22ce.  

Recorded with a Taylor K22ce (solid koa grand concert with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD gauge set) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

LIVE 106 • Bach Cello Suite #1 Prelude (BWV 1007)

I fell in love with the Pablo Casals recordings of the Bach cello suites a few years back.  The prelude to the first suite is oft adapted for guitar, but it’s still a great piece to play.  Hope you enjoy. 

Recorded with a Taylor 912ce (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD Light strings) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone. 

LIVE 104 • Ki Ho’alu

Here’s my take on Gabby Pahinui’s classic instrumental simply and appropriately titled “Ki Ho’alu,” which is course is the Hawaiian term for “slack key.”  I probably first heard this song on the stellar “Pure Gabby” album – a must own – although it has appeared on other compilations and been covered by numerous slack key artists, including Ozzie Kotani’s excellent version.  My version is inspired by Gabby, Ozzie, and also Dennis Kamakahi who was prolific in the Mauna Loa tuning.  

Recorded with a Taylor 414ce-NR (Rosewood/Spruce grand auditorium nylon string) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

LIVE 103 • Bron-Yr-Aur (912ce)

Bron-Yr-Aur is probably my favorite Led Zeppelin acoustic song. Written about a tranquil cottage in the Welsh countryside, the song is meditative and bucolic; it always puts me in a different place whenever I hear it or play it. This version was recorded on my Taylor 912ce.

Recorded with a Taylor 912ce (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD Light strings) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone. 

LIVE 098 • Iris (912ce)

Here’s a version of my song Iris recorded on the 912ce.  Iris has a lot of harmonics, which creates a light, chimey atmosphere.  The 912 has a lot of resonance, echo and bloom (even moreso than the 412ce I previously recorded this with) which I thought would pair well with the cascade of harmonics in this song.  Hope you enjoy. 

Recorded with a Taylor 912ce (Rosewood/Spruce, with Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze HD Light strings) and a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.